Originally Posted by tizeye
I've done the following: 1) after 100 or so miles, torched the pads to burn off factory shipping oil or other contamination. 2) recently light sanding the pads (how I resolved the road bike issue) after washing the bike(s). 3) periodically try cleaning the rotor with moist hand towlettes. (4) pay attention to seating when mounting the wheel making sure the rotor is not angled between the pads.
Any suggestions? I am about at the point of getting new pads despite the relativeve newness (500-1000 miles) of the pads.
You might want to invest in new pads. Personally, I prefer the factory brand pads, rather than "aftermarket", assuming I have factory rotors. (Perhaps it's a hold out from my automotive days, but the factory brake parts seemed to work the best).
Comments to your itemized list above:
1. Torching is not necessary and may be the cause of your woes. New brake pads may squeal but with use, the pads will "burnish" themselves and begin to match the rotor contours. When you torched it, you could've caused carbon to build up or increased the hardness of the material (I'm only guessing here
2. Lightly sanding might be okay, but use of brakes might be a better way. If you are using old rotors and new pads, the pads will take time to wear to match the existing rotor surface contour. After use, rotors get circular wear lines. It'll take brake usage to wear the pads to match the wear lines. I have friends who always change pads and rotors together. It's probably overkill to change both.
3. Moist hand toweletts may be the cause of your squealing too. Those towellettes may contain moisturizers or lotions and that remain on the rotor and will change the braking surface characteristics. The recommended, best and cheapest cleaner is isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. It'll remove contaminants and light oil, and also dries fast and leaves no residue. And pint bottle costs $1.
4. You can adjust the caliper mounts so the pads are always aligned when the wheel is dropped in. In other words, you shouldn't have to adjust the wheel mounting to align to the pads. Rather, align the caliper so the pads are automatically aligned when the wheel is mounted.
Bottom line: Assuming your rotors are not warped, clean them well with alcohol, then install new pads. Initially, the braking may not be most efficient or may squeal a bit, but after use, the squealing will go away and braking performance will increase after the pads are burnished. If you got the cash, buy a new set of rotors and start fresh.